Fresh off being named the Opening Day starter, Boston pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez hit a wall.

The Red Sox left-hander, who made three strong starts to begin the spring, pitched just two innings and had his worst outing of camp in Boston’s 10-4 victory over the Rays on Monday. His command was all over the place, as he issued his first two walks of the spring, and he threw about 45 pitches over the two innings before finishing his work with a couple of up-and-downs in the bullpen.

There are no health or injury concerns with Rodriguez, who is coming back from missing the 2020 season with myocarditis, but Manager Alex Cora admitted the lefty didn’t look sharp leading up to Monday’s start.

“It’s one of those that during spring you can see how they feel, stuff-wise,” Cora said. “Throughout the week, it wasn’t that he was hurt or whatever, but he didn’t look great. You hit the wall throughout, that’s part of spring, so kind of like let him face the lineup once and finish up in the bullpen. He didn’t look great, either, location-wise, so we just took care of him, he went to the bullpen to finish his work and now he’s ready for the next one.”

Rodriguez was dominant in his first three starts of the spring, as he struck out 14 and didn’t allow a walk over 12 1/3 innings. But the lefty said it was actually good to struggle a little bit before the season starts, as he continues to build up and work on some things.

“I’m feeling good,” Rodriguez said. “Today was one of those days that I really like to have, especially in spring training because then you know where the pitches are at, what you have to keep working on, so it was kind of like good to learn from.”


Rodriguez, who will have one more start this weekend before the regular season begins, is honored to be the Opening Day starter, a year after he was scheduled to start the season on the Boston mopund before COVID-19 changed everything.

“It feels really good,” Rodriguez said. “It feels amazing to have the chance after all those legends that have been the Opening Day starter. For me, it feels really good to be part of it.”

BENCH BATTLE: If Franchy Cordero is ready for Opening Day, the final bench spot on the 26-man roster will likely come down to infielders Christian Arroyo and Michael Chavis. And even if Cordero isn’t ready, one of them will likely have to go to Worcester shortly after the season starts.

Arroyo and Chavis are both making compelling cases to make the roster: they hit back-to-back home runs in Monday’s win to continue their strong springs. With about a week left in spring training, Arroyo is batting .300 with a .349 OBP, three homers and eight RBI while Chavis is batting .302 with a .362 OBP, six homers and 10 RBI.
The difference might come down to options. Arroyo would have to be exposed to waivers if the Red Sox option him to Triple-A, which seems unlikely given how high the organization is on him, while Chavis can be optioned.

“It’s fun to watch and that’s what it’s all about, right?” Cora said. “Both are doing an amazing job. We’re moving them around in the infield, they’re getting their at-bats. I think both of them are leading the team in at-bats during spring training. That’s the beauty of having a solid team, a complete team. You have to make tough decisions, and whatever decision we make is for the benefit of the team and obviously for the organization, but it doesn’t mean that this guy is a lot better than the other one. It’s just a matter of what fits right now, and what fits for the future.” …

Cordero made his first start in left field of the spring as the new outfielder continues to catch up after a late arrival to camp. Cora said it went well, and he’ll likely start again Wednesday and Friday before they reassess his situation on Saturday.

TUESDAY’S GAME: Xander Bogaerts hit his first home run for Boston, a three-run drive in a five-run third inning in Boston’s 7-6 win over Atlanta at North Port, Florida.

Enrique Hernandez had three hits and J.D. Martinez had a two-run double. Garrett Richards made his fourth start, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Ronald Acuna Jr. hit his fourth home run for Atlanta and Ehire Adrianza also connected. Jake Lamb had an RBI double.

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